OBA & Government On Media Spending Contract

March 20, 2019

“Government must explain why it is spending at least $50,000 promoting news messages like Ministerial statements through a media organisation owned by a former PLP MP,” OBA MP Susan Jackson said, while the Government noted that the spending with that particular outlet is $24,000 to date, they also spend with other media outlets, and they are “keen to work with local media outlets to create unique and consistent avenues to share Government news and information.”

OBA MP Susan Jackson statement:

“Government must explain why it is spending at least $50,000 promoting news messages like Ministerial statements through a media organisation owned by a former PLP MP,” according OBA MP Susan Jackson.

“An Official Gazette notice shows that Inter-Island Communications Ltd, which is owned by Glenn Blakeney, is being paid $35 per radio ad; $150 per interview, $175 for radio ad production, $2,000 per broadcast for remote broadcasting and $3,500 for 60-second video production.

“CITV recently undertook the live broadcast of the Budget, why do we need to pay Inter-Island for the same kind of service? What remote broadcasting has Inter-Island Communications done? What video production has been done and what for?

“Worse is paying to broadcast press statements at $150 each and $150 for Ministerial statements. Given that Ministerial and press statements are written by staff at the Department of Communications and Information, we have to assume there’s no writing involved and that these payments are to ensure they are read over the radio.

“This looks as if the taxpayer is paying to have news articles like Ministerial and press statements read out on the radio. If that is so, then that is little more than paid propaganda and an abuse of taxpayers’ money.

“The contract is from December 5, 2018 to December 4 2019 and has been made public under the Official Gazette Notices because it is a valued at $50,000 or more. Was it tendered? Were the terms of the contract made public? Who authorized this?

“This is extremely concerning and Government must make a public statement clarifying why this money is being spent this way,” Ms Jackson concluded.

Government Statement:

In response, a Government spokesperson said, “The contract in place with InterIsland Communications is a fee for services contract. This means the Government of Bermuda pays only for the services it uses. Despite the options offered by InterIsland under its contract, only the following services have been used and paid for: radio ads which were produced by CITV and interviews with on-air personalities.

“The media landscape is ever evolving, as is the way the community consumes its news and information. The Department of Communications has indicated during its recent Budget presentation, that it will continue to enhance how it engages and communicates with the public on behalf of the Government of Bermuda.

“The Department is particularly keen to work with local media outlets to create unique and consistent avenues to share Government news and information with the public.

“In fact earlier this month it issued a Request for Information [RFI] inviting local media outlets to share proposals that outline creative and diverse suggestions on how their organization can help Government to reach their audiences. The objective of the RFI is to get the right information to the right people at the right time. The RFI can be found here.

“That said, the formalized agreement with InterIsland Communications began on 5 December, 2018 and is set to conclude 4 December 2019. This represents an agreement for the provision of media services to aid the Government in sharing its message with the broader community.

“The InterIsland advertisement placement included radio spots, on-air interviews with Government officials, and audio recordings for a variety of Government campaigns such as the 2018 Throne Speech, Holiday Garbage collection and recycling, the 2019 Budget, the 2022 Education Plan, Foster Care Awareness, Workforce Development Career Guidance, Post Office Closure, Water Service Interruptions, Boards and Committees and more. Advertising support for the aforementioned campaigns also ran across other various local media outlets.

“From December 2018 to February 2019 the Department spent targeted advertising dollars promoting the same series of initiatives and campaigns with other leading local media outlets including, Bermuda Broadcasting Company [$48,000 for radio and television advertising services]; The Royal Gazette [$5,300 for print advertising]; and Bernews [$2,100 for online advertising],” and as an interjected note of clarity, the advertising dollars the Government references are for banner ads, as seen on the side and top of Bernews website.

“Advertising dollars was also spent on various social media platforms and on online promotions in smaller local media outlets. To date services with InterIsland Communications totaled approximately $24,000,” the Government added.

“The RFI is a great opportunity for local media companies to create products which will showcase their agency and potentially increase their targeted audiences. The Department of Communications looks forward to continuing and enhancing its working relationship with all members of the local media to share the Government’s message with the wider public.”

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Comments (10)

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  1. Ringmaster says:

    Control the media and you control the people. Keep the people uneducated and the job becomes even easier. No wonder Education is given lip service. Media control will end up talking to the mass unemployed.
    What the PLP/Government needs to remember is that the majority of the tax revenue is paid by non voters/non Bermudians, IB to be specific. Bermuda is on the EU blacklist and I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a quiet exodus about to take place. That’s the existing companies, forget new ones. At least what’s left will be Bermuda for Bermudians. Just that Bermudians will have no jobs and will be in poverty.

    • Paul Revere says:


    • Onion Juice says:

      While ubp/OBA friends and family have been collecting rent in Hamilton and offered contracts since we had politics in Bermuda.
      Let someone else have a turn.

      • question says:

        There won’t be a ‘turn’ when you drive everyone away.

      • Anbu says:

        Please stop lowering everyones IQ. God u really are thinck arent you. Just like your 25-11, there will be NOTHING for u OJ. U actually think the pee el pee has anything for a peasant like u?! Hahahahahaha. If nothing else, u r good for a laugh every single time your fingers touch a keyboard.

  2. Optimists says:

    Agreed. Ringmasters’ Arrant nonsense.

  3. Andy says:

    I think Bernews should get a much bigger slice of the pie. Everyone I know gets their news from here.Most of those other outlets are archaic and biased.

  4. Joe Bloggs says:

    Now Susan, be realistic. You know that no news outlet would report any such Ministerial statements for free. The PLP Government must get its message out somehow!